MIGRA-N-TI. Practical and Symbolic Experiments in Design

On the occasion of the SaloneSatellite 2018, Africa – Latin America: Rising Design / Design Emergente, Abadir Academy presents the project Migra-n-ti. Practical and symbolic experiments in design. 17.4 / 22.4 2018 – Fiera Milano Rho.

The issue of migration is one of the most controversial in our present history. Sicily, a border area, experiences on a daily basis the tragedy concerning the plight of countless boatloads of migrants reaching the coast – when they manage to –, their first haven in the “new” world.

In 2017 the entire Academy, teachers and students, decided to begin an investigation into the phenomenon of migration. The starting point for the project is a wide-ranging search followed by collection of data concerning what the field of design has created on the topic. Two extremes of the reaction towards this phenomenon are thus analyzed: on the one hand, an intellectual speculation aimed at Western audiences where design offers symbolic works that serve as acts of protest, while on the other hand, the creation of practical objects geared toward refugees, technical tools that are aseptic and impersonal, void of any kind of consideration of the psycho-emotional factor.

The school acts as a magnet for experiences and reflections, where the message lies in the process and the act of collecting data is the first real goal toward forming one’s own ideas.

Many questions are raised: Can both the practical and symbolic interact and communicate with each other? To what extent do the recorded data and the disseminated information differ – if at all? How do Sicilians live out and experience this phenomenon?

Regarding this last point – the reaction of the local population – a historical shift has occurred: Sicilians, at one time themselves migrants to the Americas, are now becoming the first refuge for new migrants. In our area, bridging the situation of both migrants and those who have already migrated is an essential aspect of the issue.

On the occasion of the 25th Biennial of Design in Ljubljana – FARAWAY, SO CLOSE – Abadir showcased the project, curated by Domitilla Dardi, at Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Slovenia.
Click here for further information about the exhibition.

Practical and symbolic experiments in design

Domitilla Dardi